Exclusive: Dive headfirst into Darker than Wax

There seems to be a cultural explosion happening in every major city in the world, and today, we’re taking a look at Singapore, a city that’s currently undergoing a major cultural shift and can often be underrepresented in the Western hemisphere. We chatted with the guys over at Darker Than Wax, a record label that’s leading the way in underground electronic music, and often noted for their experimental take on hip hop and dance. They’ve often gained comparisons to labels like HW&W out in the United States, but their style at the end of the day is entirely their own.

They describe their home as ‘this ultra-capitalistic machine [that] within the span of a few decades, [compromised] much of the its cultural forms…’ but they also note that with this massive expansion, there seems to be a reversal, ‘with the focus shifting back towards the arts again.’ The DTW team then strive to be ‘one of the beacons for pushing self-expression and, more importantly, debunking the general misconception that Singapore is a cultural desert.’

DTW can be credited with dropping releases from artists like Ta-Ku, but they don’t boast about their accomplishments. Instead, the label is continuously looking forward and instilling and reinforcing core values within themselves and their artists- ‘Integrity, loyalty, commitment, work ethics but most importantly, character’ are fundamental qualities they strive for on a daily basis.

Their commitment to music as an artform, and not as a commercial enterprise hits home. Their musical influences are true artist’s artist- Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, Dam-Funk, Theo Parrish, Moodyman, the entire Stones Throw family, and Fly-lo,’ among others, are cited as influences for the team, and they seem concerned in the musical landscape the internet has crafted. ‘While the internet has in away destroyed boundaries, it has also created other confinements at the same time,’ highlighting that so much of today’s internet-driven music industry ‘conspires to take [the listener] away from the music.’

That doesn’t mean that they don’t have successes to list off though. They recently just finished an European tour, been featured on Hypebeast, jumping on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM at Brownswood, and linking up with the collectives in China – highlights an indication that they’re headed for a long journey ahead.

The team are gearing up for limited Casio x DTW G-shock watch in November and December.

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